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Weekend guide: Here are 20 fun things to do around Bradenton-Sarasota this weekend

Are you ready for the weekend? Us too.

If you don’t have plans yet, we’re here to help.

Here’s a hand-picked guide to fun times around Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa Bay and beyond.

Are we missing a big event? Drop us a line at rballogg@bradenton.com.

Fun for everyone

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Crowds pack Lakewood Ranch Main Street for Music on Main. The event generates thousands of dollars each year for local charities. Bradenton Herald File Photo

Music on Main: Music on Main brings family-friendly fun to the heart of Lakewood Ranch on the first Friday of every month.

For September’s shindig, classic rock band GoodbyEddy will play, and a live DJ will follow.

Food vendors, beer trucks and kids activities will line the street.

The event raises funds for a different local non-profit each month; this time, Lakewood Ranch YMCA will benefit.

Details: 6-9 p.m. Friday. 8100 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch. Free. 941-907-9243.

Info: lakewoodranch.com.

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ArtCenter Manatee hosts frequent exhibits of local and regional art. Take a piece of local art home from the gallery’s Artists’ Market. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Something tasty: ArtCenter Manatee is kicking off its 82nd season with the debut of two new exhibits this weekend.

The first is a showcase of artwork created by masters of their respective crafts — the ArtCenter Manatee instructors.

The second is an open, all-media exhibit on a subject that we can all relate to: food. See how local artists interpreted the theme in the new exhibit titled “Something Tasty.”

An opening reception for both exhibits will be held from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 12 and feature live demos.

Details: On display through Oct. 4. ArtCenter Manatee, 209 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. Free.

Info: artcentermanatee.org.

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Florida Railroad Museum

Stick ‘em up: All aboard and full steam ahead to the Wild West, where the plucky traveler can stake a claim to adventure.

But wait — there are valuable goods stowed on your locomotive, and bandits are roaming the countryside.

See if you can survive an encounter with the “Hole in the Head Gang” during the Florida Railroad Museum’s train robbery ride.

Grandparents ride free this weekend.

Details: Trains leave at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ages 3-11: $12. Ages 12 and up: $16.

Info: 941-776-0906. frrm.org.

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Jerk Dog Records has been selling vinyl in Village of the Arts since 2014. Local street artist Richard Brasil recently completed a mural featuring punk rocker Lux Interior of The Cramps on an exterior wall of the shop. Courtesy of Jerk Dog Records

Village of the Arts Art Walk: There’s always something new to see in Bradenton’s most creative neighborhood.

The popular monthly Art Walk features open galleries, studios, specialty shops, healing arts, food, music and more.

Whether you fancy folk art or fine art, creative cuisine, antiques, records, quilting or a psychic reading, Village of the Arts has something special to offer every visitor.

A mini art market will be held throughout the Art Walk at Art Junkies Studio, 1130 12th St. W., Bradenton.

Details: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Village of the Arts, 1113 12th St. W., Bradenton. Free.

Info: villageofthearts.com.

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View of bees in their bee hive, at an apiary in Navajas, Matanzas province, Cuba on March 21, 2019. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images

Free honey bee tour: Find out what it takes to produce delicious local honey during a free tour of the Sarasota Honey Company bee garden.

The tours include an introduction to beekeeping in Florida, agricultural history and a local honey tasting. If you like it, pick up a bottle to take home from the gift shop.

Private adult tours and field trips for kids are also available.

Details: 10:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Sarasota Honey Company, 2227 University Parkway, Sarasota. Free.

Info: sarasotahoney.com.

Night out

IT Chapter Two: In this scary sequel, Pennywise, who is arguably the creepiest clown ever (we’re looking at you, Ronald McDonald) reappears in the small town of Derry, Maine, to sow terror once more.

The kids who bested the clown in the first installment are all grown up now, but that isn’t going to make things any easier this time around.

Details: Playing in theaters everywhere starting Friday.

Info: itthemovie.com.

At the museum

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Florida Maritime Museum




Semper Paratus: The U.S. Coast Guard has a long legacy of protecting Florida’s waters, and a temporary exhibit on display at the Florida Maritime Museum explores the past and present role of the seafaring military branch.

“The United States Coast Guard remains always ready — Semper Paratus — to serve in Florida’s tropical and turbulent waters,” museum staff says. “’Always Ready: United States Coast Guard in Florida’ — curated by the Florida Maritime Museum — explores the exciting stories and brave people behind the Coast Guard in the sunshine state.”

Details: On display through Dec. 31. Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez. Free.



Info: floridamaritimemuseum.org.

At the theater

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Courtesy of Manatee Performing Arts Center

Grey Gardens: Described as tragic, funny and unforgettable, this musical tells the story of a mother and daughter who fall from a posh, high-society lifestyle to a lonely and eccentric existence in a crumbling estate.

The stage work is based off of the the 1975 documentary of the same name.

Details: Through Sept. 22. Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton $27-$40.

Info: 941-748-5875. manateeperformingartscenter.com.

Go outside

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Rye Preserve offers hiking and biking through native Florida ecosystems in Parrish. TIFFANY TOMPKINS ttompkins@bradenton.com

Nature escape: Rye Preserve in Parrish offers recreational trails through acres of peaceful scenery, including Florida ecosystems like pine scrub and oak hammock.

Bicycles are allowed on designated trails, and there are also prime spots for fishing, kayaking and canoeing, picnicking and wildlife viewing.

Tent camping sites are available on Friday and Saturday nights on a first-come, first-served basis.

Details: Open daily sunrise to sunset. 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish. Free. Camping fee is $20 per night plus tax.

Info: mymanatee.org/departments/parks___natural_resources.

Day trip

Florida Aquarium Jellyfish
Jellyfish at the Florida Aquarium. Florida Aquarium.


Aquarium adventure: An astounding 14,000 animals are housed at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa.

Explore cool blue halls teeming with sea creatures of the deep, coral reef critters and wetland wonders, and even pet a jellyfish.

The aquarium recently made headlines when lab staff were able to successfully reproduce coral in a lab setting — a good sign for endangered coral reefs the world over.

Travel Time: About an hour.

Details: 701 Channelside Dr., Tampa. Tickets from $15; prices vary by day.

Info: flaquarium.org.

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Theme park fun

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure: Us poor muggles don’t have a chance of getting into Hogwarts, but luckily Floridians have the next best thing at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in Orlando.

A new ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure invites guests to take a wild ride with beloved half-giant Hagrid through a forest full of mythical creatures.

Not a Potter fan? You’ll still have fun. At nearly a mile in length, “Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure” is the new longest roller coaster ride in Florida, and it lasts about three and half minutes.

Details: Universal’s Islands of Adventure, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando. $110 and up.

Info: universalorlando.com.

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Dining Guide

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Meaty Back Ribs (baby back ribs) are a specialty at BubbaQue’s restaurant, which opened Monday at 6581 State Road 70 E., next to Zaxby’s. The owners are Jason and Jordan Kazbour. He is a native of Sarasota and she is originally from Riverview. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

NEW IN TOWN — BubbaQue’s BBQ: There’s a new barbecue slinger in town.

This locally owned franchise boasts a fun an extensive menu featuring wings, salads, dinner plates, sandwiches, appetizers and a whole nacho section.

Info: bubbaquesbbq.com.

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DRINK THIS — Locally crafted spirits: Well, we made it through another hurricane unscathed. That deserves a celebratory drink.

Recently opened Loaded Cannon Distillery is a perfect place to grab one with offerings of locally-made vodka, rum, gin and bourbon available in the tasting room. The distillery also offers tours on weekends.

Loaded Cannon Distillery is at 3115 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Suite 110, Bradenton.

Info: loadedcannondistillery.com.

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Tyler’s Ice Cream banana split
A banana split at Tyler’s Homemade Ice Cream. Tyler's Homemade Ice Cream

DON’T FORGET DESSERT — Long live local ice cream: Grabbing a cone at Tyler’s is a local tradition.

With a whopping list of 46 flavors of ice cream to choose from and a 35-year history of serving it up, this sweet shop seems to have cracked the code on winning over anyone with a sweet tooth.

The only thing left to do is find out what your favorite flavor is.

Info: tylersicecream.com.

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Want us to feature your favorite plate at a local restaurant? Submit a photo to rballogg@bradenton.com to be considered. Include your name, hometown, the name of the dish and the name of the restaurant.

Live music highlights

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Country rockers Rye Road are a staple in the Bradenton-Sarasota music scene. Photo courtesy of Rye Road




Rye Road at Woody’s River Roo: These country rockers bring an energetic and danceable sound that’s made them a local and regional favorite.


Details: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Darwin Brewing Company and Taproom, 803 17th Ave. W., Bradenton. No cover.

Info: darwinbrewingco.com.

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Gospel group Truality performs most Sundays at the Blue Rooster, a bar and grill in Sarasota. Photo courtesy of Truality

Truality at Blue Rooster

Every Sunday, Blue Rooster hosts a Gospel Brunch Buffet with Southern comfort food and live gospel music from Truality.

Truality is a Sarasota band that performs gospel music in all new ways, incorporating R&B, jazz, funk and Latin rhythm.

Details: 11:15 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. No cover.

Info: blueroostersrq.com.

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